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kuchikomi

More bull over U.S. beef

94 Comments

“One carton out of 700 cartons was not intended to be shipped to Japan. That beef was mistakenly exported." That was the excuse given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on April 24 after spinal columns were found in a U.S. beef shipment to Japan in the latest violation of a bilateral beef accord. Japanese consumers and politicians alike are beginning to wonder if it is possible to trust the U.S. side when it comes to beef inspections.

The beef in question was shipped from a National Beef plant in California and imported into Japan in August last year by Itochu Corp, which later sold it to Yoshinoya Holdings Co, the operator of restaurants serving beef bowls. The accord requires the removal of spinal columns, brain tissue and other ''specified risk materials'' deemed to be closely linked to mad cow disease (BSE). The U.S. government has since reassured Japan that other beef is OK.

According to Japan's health ministry, imported beef is inspected at five stages: Inspection at factories in the U.S., quarantine at Japanese customs, animal quarantine by Japan's agriculture ministry, inspection by private-sector buyers and private-sector food process factories. However, an official says, “The rate of random sampling on imported beef is just 1%.”

The latest case shows how insufficient the checking system for imported beef is, says Mikako Iba, who is a board member of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. U.S. authorities rely heavily on the private sector for inspection of beef. "That's all on their side, but once the beef gets to Japan, the laws related to imported beef are full of loopholes. Hence, dangerous beef can slip under the radar.”

“This case was predictable,” said Mashiko Yamada, an DPJ politician who visited some American beef processing plants with a beef import investigation team. “The decision to resume U.S. beef imports in July, 2006 was a sort of 'souvenir' from Prime Minister Junichi Koizumi who visited U.S. President George W Bush in June that year. Japanese politicians knew the inspection process was not good enough, but the political decision prevailed. Now, it has come back to haunt consumers.” (Translated by Taro Fujimoto)

© Japan Today

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.


94 Comments
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No problem.

Americans can keep their beef and Japanese can do without. When the people who want a good burger start crying and the outrage begins, hopefull the US will continue to deny the export. Let the Japanese finally get what they want and then suffer for it......

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If you don't want the beef then quit buying it. It is as simple as that.

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Hmm, they sell/ship with spinal manner to other clients and by accident it ended up in Japan. And that case by accident was inspected what a co-incidence.

Myself staying away from US-Beef, the aussies make some pretty decent beef too.

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To think that the Japanese can simply "quit buying it" is naive. The political pressure exerted by the American side [for the Japanese to resume imports] is massive ... to the tune of several million dollars massive. The beef lobby Stateside is huge! It's more like the Japanese are put in position of 'buy it or else'. Given the importance of exports to Japan it's very easy for the US to tighten the screws i.e. impose trade tariffs on Japanese goods.

But that's beside the point. These laws prevent people from getting ill. I don't want to do the St. Vitus dance and die a slobbering mess just because I ate a burger - call me fussy. I want to eat healthy meat - how can that possibly be a bad thing?

The shocking part of this story is that maybe only 1% is checked and how much has gotten through unnoticed. It's totally irresponsible and the US needs to clean up its act.

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Dont want it?Dont buy it. Its pretty clearly labeled. Funny still importing Chinese gyoza but US beef gets crucified..

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Is Japantoday part of this countries organized program to slander and libel American products to death ? It appears so... I mean what is this ???

"Hence, dangerous beef can slip under the radar.”

What is this buncha malarkey ? Truly some shoddy journalism here ! Posting such unscientific krap is surely the sign of a second rate news organization... no matter how you may try to distance yourself from it by putting it in quotation marks. The fact is J-Today actually posted this !

So for the record...

-The piece of meat in question does not contaion any bse contaminents.

-Beef coming into Japan from the USA is the absolute most safest meat available. Only the USA is providing beef at less than 20 months of age. There has never been a single case of bse found in cattle of this age.

-Millions of Americans eat American beef everyday... have so for hundreds of years. And not one American has contracted any bse related disease to date. Millions of pounds of this stuff mind you... for hundreds of years !!!

-And even if you did eat bse tainted beef... recent studies indicate there is "no" guarantee you will contract any disease related to its consumption !

So please... J media outlets like Jtoday... stop the misinformation. I mean imagine if the US media went on such a misguided campaign of bold faced lies and half-truths. Imagine if the US media openly reported that you are more likely to die in a Toyota or Honda than you are of bse ! It is a fact mind you... but is this what "international relations" is all about ? Isn't it time for the j media to grow up ?

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sounds like something the Japanese would say. PERFECT!

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"The piece of meat in question does not contaion any bse contaminents."

Ahum... since it is not tested sufficiently, you don't know that.

"Beef coming into Japan from the USA is the absolute most safest meat available."

That must be why the majority of developed countries don't import it.

"Millions of Americans eat American beef everyday"

And look at them!

"And even if you did eat bse tainted beef... recent studies indicate there is "no" guarantee you will contract any disease related to its consumption"

And even if you have unsafe sex there is "no" guarantee you will get a nasty disease.

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"Millions of Americans eat American beef everyday"

And look at them!

lol

Like having a wrinkly old lady trying to sell face cream.

<strong>Moderator: Back on topic please.</strong>

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The US is the largest exporter of beef in the world. Other than Brazil no other nation comes close. Somebody is buying it. Sounds like Japan is looking out for numero uno here. Planting fear into drones' minds so they all make poor consumer decisions. Check your facts sarc-ass-m123, exactly how many americans have died from US grown beef? The last case of contamination I can remember was beef from Canada.

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How come Korea, and a few other countries got the same ban on US beef and also refuse to lift it.

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Nigazilla - I was talking to one of my Japanese friends about that the other day. They still import Gyoza and haven't talked about banning it. I mean how many people have gotten sick off of US beef. Great point

I understand the pressure that the government gets. Me, I love US Beef. I have never had any problems with it. But if the few people that don't like the beef or is worried about it don't want it then see what happens if they decide to ban it again. If it is so bad then take the chance. If there are consequences then take that hit when it happens.

When US beef is sold in Japanese stores doesn’t it sell out? That is what frustrates me when I hear that Japanese citizens are scared of eating US beef. There might be a hand full of people that have concerns and I respect that. If you think that they did it on purpose then you have a choice stop importing it or send it back. are consenquences then take that hit when it happens.

But correct me if I am wrong when US beef is sold it sells out quick right? So I get tired of hearing that Japanese are so scared of the US beef. Maybe a hand full of people. That doesn't make up the majority or does it?

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In the political system of Japan, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the right wing extremists who engages in construction business (typically demolition company as their legal business), and the farmers in the courtsides who has vey strong lobbying power. I believe average Japanese people like US beef. But their opinions just do not count.

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From my perception, people buy US beef in japan because it is the cheapest. It is clearly not the tastiest.

In the states, if a cow can not walk to the slaughter house, it is still safe for human consumption. I also read a study years ago from yale that a small but significant amount of alzheimers diagnosis were actually BSE. These results were from autopsies. The more you know about how cattle are raised, and what they are fed in the US, the more apprehensive you should be. A significant amount of people in the US will not eat beef unless they know exactly how it is raised and what it is fed.

To be more blunt the US gov has absolutely no interest in the general health of its people, bc big business is far more important.

The US blatantly uses its political muscle to pressure japan into importing beef. This is no question about this.

despite all this, they keep shipping stuff this way. That alone should tell you all you need to know.

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Um notjeff dont be too shocked but they also sell these things called Cigarettes here, ever heard of them?But I guess US beef is much more dangerous. The whole point is if Japan can let the consumers decide whether or not to give themselves cancer with cigarettes,they should give the consumers the freedom to decide when it comes to US beef.

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sarcasm: HK imports it...Singapore imports it...Thailand imports it...Taiwan and SK import it...Laos even imports it...never let facts get in the way of a good story though

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its funny I thought this story was more about lack of trust... especially arising out of repeated incompetence to do a job properly.

..most comments so far here don't seem to reflect that.. or overlook that.

..there is alot of touchy US patriots here, but realize that some Japanese do like US meat or will buy it without even having a strong preference for it.. however I think before they make that purchase of any kind they will be presuming to a least a high degree at least that it gets to the shop shelves having gone though processes within the current rules and laws. ( you know they may have been expecting to buy US beef ... but not that kind of US beef... its not necessarily what they asked for)

the problem here is lack of trust and perception of others not to do a job properly or care about providing the appropriate standards to others even if you don't agree with those standards. yeah this serotype applies to for example Chinese supplied goods as well, and you could have a point about not being treated in the same way; but with all the focus on this one issue I think by now the Japanese people expect ( and know the US could if they tried) higher standards from the US. otherwise they will just presume they are being lied to in the name of buck making.

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For sarcasm123:

"The piece of meat in question does not contaion any bse contaminents."

Ahum... since it is not tested sufficiently, you don't know that.

Yes I do. The beef in question was under 20 months of age. Therefore it cannot possibly or scientifically contain BSE prions. That is science mate... not guesswork !

"Beef coming into Japan from the USA is the absolute most safest meat available."

"That must be why the majority of developed countries don't import it."

Wrong again... countries don't import perfectly good food products for a variety of reasons, the biggest being "market protection". That is basic Economics 101 ! Not biased opinion !

"Millions of Americans eat American beef everyday"

"And look at them!"

Yep, just look at all those Olympic gold medals and just look at all them movie stars, entertainers, and thousands of centenerians living well over 100 years of age... yep, just look at em !

"And even if you did eat bse tainted beef... recent studies indicate there is "no" guarantee you will contract any disease related to its consumption"

"And even if you have unsafe sex there is "no" guarantee you will get a nasty disease."

Is that what recent studies have told you ? I don't think so. But then again it's your world sarcasm123... we're all just livin in it.

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tako10:

"In the political system of Japan, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the right wing extremists who engages in construction business (typically demolition company as their legal business), and the farmers in the courtsides who has vey strong lobbying power."

So which group does Japantoday belong to, as they are front and center in this drive to discredit American beef. Even this article, taken from a rather lowly rag The Shukan Post, is just another example of how active Japantoday remains. Especially when the facts clearly indicate that the average consumer will purchase American beef in a heartbeat. Fact is, the stuff sells out within days of delivery... so why all the negativity from Japantoday ? What's their angle ?

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There are a lot of Japanese-owned cattle ranches in Australia. (I see the light bulb over your head.) Zero defects in Aussie beef shipments to Japan is simply unfathomable. Add to this the fact that mistakes in various other meat shipments to Japan (e.g. assorted South American countries) just don't seem newsworthy.

A second light bulb, I see.

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The beef in question was under 20 months of age. Therefore it cannot possibly or scientifically contain BSE prions. That is science mate... not guesswork !

If you can't see it with your blind eye, it isn't there? You should change your name to Horatio.

Scrapie, the sheep disease from which BSE is supposed to have developed, can be transmitted in utero. No reason to believe that the same thing could never happen in cattle. There is also at least one study that indicates there is risk of maternal transmission in cattle; just because the disease cannot be detected by the means presently at our disposal, doesn't mean the prions aren't sitting there in those young cows' brains and backbones.

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ninjazilla,

I am all for giving people the right to do what they want to themselves as adults like smoke cigarettes. Your error in rational comes from the fact that all cigarettes are carcinogenic, while beef when raised properly is not harmful to your health. This is simply an irrational argument. and, btw, japanese consumption of US beef has dropped 90% http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_6341.cfm so, maybe japanese dont love american beef so much huh?

If you believe that government should serve to protect the people, then japan is simply being bullied into importing an unsafe product. This is not a "choice" issue.

Most beef from the US is banned in the EU, as in many other countries.

If you believe that typical US beef is safe, read up a bit more, its scary stuff. Take it from someone who loves to eat beef, but is very hesitant.

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Kleo...

"the sheep disease from which BSE is supposed to have developed, can be transmitted in utero. No reason to believe that the same thing could never happen in cattle."

Hmm, no reason to believe an elephant can't dangle from a daisy off a cliff either... except for the fact it's never been proven ! Give yer theories in psuedoscience a rest Cleo, we're talking real science here not theories !

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Notjeff...

"japanese consumption of US beef has dropped 90%"

Uh, yeh a complete government ban and organized program of slander and libel will do that to a product.

"If you believe that government should serve to protect the people"

Huh ? Whatchu talkin' about willis ? The Japanese Government has "never" been in the business of protecting the people... just their own pocketbooks ! Learn the difference pleaase... yer embarrassing yerself !

"then japan is simply being bullied into importing an unsafe product."

Huh ? What exactly is unsafe ? Please show me how beef at 20 months of age can be unsafe ! exactly how many people in Japan have been sickened by American beef in the last 50 years ? Put those figures into the amount imported and lets see where we sit. I'm willing to bet the farm that American beef has an "exceptional" record when it comes to food safety in Japan. Can chinease gyoza say the same ? Japanese dairy products ? Japanese mislabeled meat products ? All them farms hiding their 0-157 data ???

"This is not a "choice" issue."

yer right ! Because given the freedom of choice... as all the available data clearly states... the Japanese consumers will choose American beef time and time again !

I for one will join the other millions and millions of folks around the world and will gladly continue to enjoy healthy safe American beef ! The Japanese government needs to face the facts... the consumers want US beef and the government should stop interfering in free markets. Explains how Japans international ranking in terms of competitiveness continues to shrink... too much market protection ! I say... butt out !

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Why is US beef constantly banned in the EU if its so safe. Why is it banned in russia, how about korea? must be real safe. Keep in mind korea has a huge US presence there, so there must be huge pressure to allow US beef there, but it still is not. Why is this since american beef is so great?

How about downers (cows that cant walk) being fit for consumption in the US?

Westrun, read the link above, and you'll see the 90 percent drop. and from what i saw in japan for years was that people would simply not buy american beef bc they didnt think it was safe. How do people keep choosing American beef? Do they choose american rice too? Guess according to your opinion they probably choose it again and again right?

http://www.organicconsumers.org/madcow.cfm#articles

You need to stop drinking the US beef flavored cool aid when it comes to "facts" surrounding this issue. Here is something short and too the point for you.

http://www.vegsource.com/talk/campbell/messages/9141.html

here are the first two points:

"(1) The number of deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease has increased by more than 9000% in North America since 1979. In 1979 only 653 people died from Alzheimer’s Disease. By 2004, that number jumped to 60,000. About 5 million North Americans currently have Alzheimer’s Disease.

(2) A study from Yale University showed that approximately 5% of Alzheimer’s Disease patients were incorrectly diagnosed. The patients actually had Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD). One variant of CJD is caused by eating the beef from mad cows."

Not allowing an unsafe product into a country has nothing to do w/protectionism.

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Is US beef really that safe? How about the recent beef recalls in the US?

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN1760137220080218?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

Shoppers in the countries that ban US beef also read that and it is not propaganda by their goverments.

Add to that the recent shippiug/packing accidents and it is clear why the bans are not lifted and why the consumers don't want to buy it even if available(which it is).

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Maybe if the Japanese and the pointy nosed Europeans ate a little more US beef, they'd stop acting like sheep.

The fact remains that unlike Europe and Japan, BSE has never been a problem in the US. Its a fact US beef can be sold three time cheaper than similar quality Japanese beef. The only thing keeping the Japanese beef industry from total collapse is the orchestrated fear campaign against US beef being planted into the J-consumer minds.

Who is really suffering here? Its the Japanese consumer who ends up spending more of their hard earn cash on something they could have gotten for three times less the price.

So be it. Those of you that can be manipulated so easily deserve what you get, skinny strips of meat at some ridiculous prices. Bon apetite suckers.

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I buy neither US nor japanese Beef but Aussie beef in Tokyo. Most of the restaurants here also serve aussie beef.

Lots of choices worldwide.

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notjeff and zenbuilder,

Please folks, if your going to base your argument on "food safety" and try to state that Japan's food safety record is better than anyone elses, or that consumers are not buying American beef due to safety issues... I'd like to be the first to welcome you to Japan, cause you all obviously just got off the boat !

Having said that, notjeff... please stop taking isolated incidents of criminal behaviour and try to twist them into the norm. It is flat out illegal to process downer cows for human consumption in the US.

Again people, take the millions of tons of American beef consumed each yer and measure it against the numbers of illnesses... US beef is hundreds of times safer than that cigarette you put in your mouth, the alcohol you consume, or the Toyotas you drive ! Those are facts !!!

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westurn.

How about been living here for 12yrs? I know what goes down here, hence why I buy NEITHER US nor japanese beef. As I stated in a previous post, might try to look it up. ;)

Food safety issues exist in all countries, yet the bans are there for a reason and it is NOT only Japan that bans US beef.

How about the US banning Canadian beef that has a better safety record.

Just find it funny that the US is trying to FORCE countries to lift the bans, yet the news are full of US related beef and food issues.

Pot = Kettle = Black.

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zen, if you are buying australian beef because of their clean record on BSE, congratulations you are making your consumer decisions on the basis of fact.

unfortunately your weak understanding of this topic is clearly evident and leads me to believe you are like a broken clock, which gets it right two times a day regardless of its ability to tell time.

All nations have set up trade barriers in one form or another. The Japanese are protectionists by nature. Their beef industry cannot withstand the competition from both Australia and America so the government plays a role in keeping one out of its market.

IF its not too overwhelming for you to do a little research, go check out this site: http://www.mla.com.au/TopicHierarchy/MarketInformation/OverseasMarkets/RedMeatMarkets/Japan/GraphsandStatistics/Beef/Imports.htm. It has nice charts with pretty colors and its from Australia. Take a look at the supply and demand aspects of the ban on US beef in 2003, then go out and do some research at how pricing was affected from 03 through 07, then sit and contemplate how the weak US dollar will factor in to the equation if US beef imports are not hindered by fear mongering by the Japanese government at the behest of its domestic beef industry.

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VOR.

You guys can try all the personal attacks you want. Like trying to say I "Just got of the boat", "got a weak understanding", etc it only makes your own arguments weaker. I thought Ad Homimem attaks were forbidden here?

What I am on about is how the US is pressuring other countries to lift the ban, never saw it happen from the UK, Canada, etc when their beef was banned.

You can quote me statistics, etc but people will buy what they want to buy. The consumers in japan right now don't want US beef same way they don't want Chinese foods right now. That is from the people I have spoken to(not a scientific survey).

That is their choice and decision and lifting the ban I don't think will result in increased sales of those goods.

The Beef is available in Japan but few supers stock it due to lack of demand. Those are the facts.

Done here.

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Zen; if you are happy in your ignorance thats okay with me but why share it with the rest of us? My problem with you is you that you are trying to pass off your opinion as fact and I'm calling you out on it.

One example is your assertion that there is a lack of demand for US beef in Japan. This is the opposite of the truth. Demand for US beef in Japan has been growing at a phenomenal clip; almost 80% last year alone. You'd know that if you did just a little research before posting (go check out the web site i gave you).

You keep mentioning US banning Canadian and UK beef. Are you even familiar with any of the circumstances surrounding those bans; the cause, the duration, the market conditions etc...

c'mon man, if you are going to take a position at least peel back the first layer and think.

I provided you my position that the Japanese are protectionist and they are using this safety issue as a vehicle to protect their domestic beef industry. Can you counter that?

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80% of what, VOR? Look at the US beef imports and the Australian imports. Again.....80% of what!!!! Can YOU counter THAT?

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The vast majority of Japanese living in or visiting the U.S. eat U.S. beef without hesitation. I wonder why that is...

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As for statistics they are created to prove a point usually the one of the person that pays for them. Do some research on statistics and what they prove.

I can take the same values and prove ALL sides right.

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Why is US beef constantly banned in the EU if its so safe.

Because US beef is raised using hormones that are illegal in the EU. EU consumers do not want to receive doses of testosterone, progesterone and other ~sterones in their dinner.

http://www.mad-cow.org/~tom/ban_on_US_beef.html

Its a fact US beef can be sold three time cheaper than similar quality Japanese beef.

Simply not true; beef tainted with excessive levels of natural and synthetic hormones is not the same quality as untainted beef. Not even similar. Nowhere near. It's cheaper because corners are cut. So is quality.

How about downers (cows that cant walk) being fit for consumption in the US?

It's illegal to slaughter downers for human consumption - westurn is correct on that point. However, there has been at least one recent report of a meat packing company prodding downer animals with electric shocks, dragging and pushing them with forklifts, forcing water into their nostrils, to force them to 'walk' into the slaughter chutes. This 'isolated incident' occurred at a major company that last year provided 27 million pounds of beef for US school lunches. http://www.hsus.org/farm/news/pressrel/hsus_mendell_downer_testimony_031208.html

take the millions of tons of American beef consumed each yer and measure it against the numbers of illnesses

Check it against the 9000% rise in the incidence of Alzheimer's. To add to notjeff's list -

(4) A September 2004 survey of pathologists in California showed that more than 70% were reluctant to conduct autopsies on CJD patients, fearing contamination of their instruments and facilities. (5) Toronto coroner Dr Murray Waldman has alleged that many funeral homes do not embalm patients who have died from CJD, fearing that their facilities will become contaminated with deadly prions. Waldman also argues that there is a statistical link between eating red meat and Alzheimer's Disease.

In other words, there are none so blind as those who refuse to see. That's why BSE is 'not a problem' in north America.

Consider too the fact that while Japanese women are five times less liable to get breast cancer than their American sisters, the level of incidence rises sharply in Japanese immigrants to the US after just one or two generations, ie among those raised from birth on an American diet.

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zenbuilder (how ironic that handle is)

"What I am on about is how the US is pressuring other countries to lift the ban, never saw it happen from the UK, Canada, etc when their beef was banned."

The ban on US beef in Japan does not follow scientific evidence nor negotiated trade agreements between the countries. To make it worse, the government in Japan has resulted to fear mongering and harassment to keep an otherwise popular product from entering the markets unrestricted.

As for pressure, yours is a silly comment. The US has been very patient with Japan as it continues to throw up road blocks and openly criticize a consumer goods product that has been proven to be safe.

And this is just plain ignorant:

"You can quote me statistics, etc but people will buy what they want to buy. The consumers in japan right now don't want US beef same way they don't want Chinese foods right now. That is from the people I have spoken to(not a scientific survey)."

Then lets look at the facts. Lets look at how quickly American beef flys off the shelves when it is provided. Lets look at sales receipts from companies and restaurants that do advertise the use of US beef. Lets look at the numbers before Japan starting its campaign "against" the US beef council. What you will find zenbuilder is that US beef was, and remains, very popular in Japan, by the consumers that buy it. It's the government and media outlets that are fueling this hysteria, and you have obviously bought into it. Or, you are one of the Japanese operating cattle ranches in Australia. Oh yes, Aussie beef. Raised and produced by-the Japanese ! Imagine that. Can you say McDonalds ?

By the way, anyone know what Ichiro, Matsui, and Matsuzaka eat while in the USDA ? Yep, large doses of American Beef !

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Cleo,

"Because US beef is raised using hormones that are illegal in the EU. EU consumers do not want to receive doses of testosterone, progesterone and other ~sterones in their dinner."

But they are ok with chemical fertilizers and toxic sprays in their veggies ? Bizzare lot if you ask me. I seem to recall that there are more than 100 cattle ranches in the US that can provide nothing more than grass fed beef by the tons. So why is that also banned in the EU ?

"Its a fact US beef can be sold three time cheaper than similar quality Japanese beef."

Absolutely true ! When you take grass fed cattle from the western states and compare them with a like product raised in Japan, the final price for the Japanese beef is more than 3x's higher. Thats a no-brainer considering how expensive Japanese farms are to run.

As for Alzheimers ? Bit of a red herring don't you think ? There are way too many variables to even consider the relationship between beef and Alzheimers. That ranks right up there with getting a.i.d.s off a toilet seat in my book.

I guess, for those of you that don't want to eat US beef, don't ! But please stop trying to prevent it's consumption by those of us that do. This is a matter that should be left to the consumer, freedom of choice ! I say open the markets and let the consumers decide. I for one will take my chances.

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Oh, more personal attacks and the same old boring arguments. You guys having a get-together to gang up on me. Call me when you guys got some new arguements.

Looks to me like you guys can't take it that you don't get things the way you won't them and now cry foul. The US can be protective of their own interests and the rest of the world needs to shut it but, OMG, if the tables are turned.

How about getting back on-topic for a chance.

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"I guess, for those of you that don't want to eat US beef, don't ! But please stop trying to prevent it's consumption by those of us that do. This is a matter that should be left to the consumer, freedom of choice ! I say open the markets and let the consumers decide. I for one will take my chances."

Nobody is preventing you. No poster here said don't eat US beef, Japan does not have a full ban like S. Korea did. Same way I am free NOT to eat US beef without being attacked by you guys for my views.

Like the posters in JT and the Japanese citizens got a say on the ban or can prevent you from doing anything.

Come on get real.

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"The US can be protective of their own interests and the rest of the world needs to shut it but, OMG, if the tables are turned."

Oh Zenbuilder, the last time I checked the USA has had ongoing trade imbalances with almost every country it does business with for the past 30 years. Isn't it time for the tables to be turned ? Why should America continue to be a nation of buyers ? Why is it so wrong for the Americans to be sellers ? Again, why does the USA provide one of the worlds most open markets, while countries like Japan are allowed their protectionist wasy ? Maybe it's time for the USA to ban Japanese products. No more Sony, Hitachi, Toshiba, Honda, Toyota. Do you really think American consumers will mind ? No, they won't. They will simply void those markets and fill them with their own US made goods, thus putting millions of more Americans back to work. Hey, sounds great to me !

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I seem to recall that there are more than 100 cattle ranches in the US that can provide nothing more than grass fed beef by the tons. So why is that also banned in the EU ?

I seem to recall that there was an agreement between the US and Japan that no spinal columns and other dodgy stuff would be included in shipments to Japan. How many times is it now...? Maybe your beef suppliers have a little problem with credibility? Why buy stuff from folk when they've demonstrated over and over again that they're not going to stick to the agreement and just send over any old stuff they feel like?

As for Alzheimers ? Bit of a red herring don't you think ?

More like a bit of red meat if you ask me. If everything on that side of the pond is so hunky-dory, what's your explanation for the 9000% rise in Alzheimer's?

But please stop trying to prevent it's consumption by those of us that do.

No one's trying to stop you eating US beef. You're free to go over to the US and eat as much of it as you want. We just don't want it over here where, as you know, unscrupulous people are ready and eager to falsify labels so that people don't have the choice.

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Why should America continue to be a nation of buyers ? Why is it so wrong for the Americans to be sellers ?

When you put out a quality product like a Mac or an ipod, people are more than willing to buy, and pay a premium. It's the crappy stuff you're having trouble marketing. Sell the customer what he wants to buy, not what you want to sell. Less whining and demanding would also be helpful.

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"Maybe it's time for the USA to ban Japanese products. No more Sony, Hitachi, Toshiba, Honda, Toyota. Do you really think American consumers will mind ? No, they won't. They will simply void those markets and fill them with their own US made goods, thus putting millions of more Americans back to work. Hey, sounds great to me !"

Then why didn't they follow your plan so far? Because what sounds great to you, doesn't sound great to people with some IQ. Ban Japanese products? The entire US will come to a hold in no time!!! Hey, sounds great to me!

<strong>Moderator: Back on topic please.</strong>

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"Why buy stuff from folk when they've demonstrated over and over again that they're not going to stick to the agreement and just send over any old stuff they feel like?"

Cleo, we are talking about American beef ! Not Japan's ongoing problems with mislabeled foods, recycled foods, tainted foods, use of outdated ingredients, or any of the other multitude of issues brought on by meat hope, snow brand/mega milk, akafuku, fujiya, nihon rice, gold pac, Ishiya trading, etc.

"what's your explanation for the 9000% rise in Alzheimer's?"

The Internet ?

"No one's trying to stop you eating US beef. You're free to go over to the US and eat as much of it as you want. We just don't want it over here"

This is where you are wrong. All the data, past and present clearly indicates that consumers "do" want American beef. Some of us would simply prefer that Japan stop it's lobbying against a scientifically proven safe product. Now can this nation of scientists say the same about tobacco pproducts, alcohol, or the sugar and caffein laced products it sells ? I think not, so please spare me "the safety Japan" nonsense. This is about market protection, plain and simple.

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Haaa, where to start (again)For sarcasm123:

"Yes I do. The beef in question was under 20 months of age. Therefore it cannot possibly or scientifically contain BSE prions. That is science mate... not guesswork !"

Just plain wrong. See cleo's post.

"Wrong again... countries don't import perfectly good food products for a variety of reasons, the biggest being "market protection". That is basic Economics 101 ! Not biased opinion !"

Just plain wrong again. Do some research mate. US beef is filled with all kinds of hormones that are not allowed in civilized countries. Add to that the insufficient testing...

"Yep, just look at all those Olympic gold medals and just look at all them movie stars, entertainers, and thousands of centenerians living well over 100 years of age... yep, just look at em !"

Ahum, those Olympic medals are not very representative of the general population, my dear. They comprize, what, 0.00001% of the Americans. And I would not be surprized if they actually stayed away from US beef as far as possible.

Oh, and even China has centenarians, what was your point?

Your last arguments was just completely... well... I guess you realized how wrong you were :P

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http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/hot_issues/bse/background/bse_trade_ban_status.shtml

Animal fats/oils certified with maximum insoluble impurities of less than 0.15% in weight (bovine origin animal fats imported for animal consumption must also come from animals that passed FSIS inspection, and must not be derived from the head, distal ileum, spinal cord, or vertebral column of cattle of any age).

"Must not be derived"? Good luck.

Bovine semen is allowed without BSE certification as of 12/26/03 per MAFF instruction to Japan's ports.

Looks like it's a meat issue. (Take a look at your dog's chew.)

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The issue is not what some Americans think the Japanese consumer wants, but trust. It's not about trade imbalance, but trust. The U.S. exporters cannot clean up their act, apparently, and that is the issue. It may be that 99 percent of the beef shipped over here is/seems safe, but unsafe products still 'slipping under the radar' makes them in-admissible. The same is true for products from China: only a minuscule percentage is unsafe, but the trend here is to avoid China's food products. Food safety standards are the issue here and suggesting boycotting Japanese consumer electronics and automobiles which are manufactured to the highest standards in the world is ludicrous.

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roomtemp: what part of "Demand for US beef in Japan has been growing at a phenomenal clip; almost 80% last year alone" did you not understand?

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To the folks here wanting US beef in Japan (VOR, Western, Possum and Co.). Instead of preaching here to the converted, how about lobbying Stateside for better meat processing standards so that you can get your beef and eat it?

Your people gotta stop dropping the ball. Good luck and tell us when you have it sorted out.

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"Bovine semen is allowed without BSE certification as of 12/26/03 per MAFF instruction to Japan's ports."

Always the same argument from jambon. However, I never get an answer whan I ask him who is consuming this bovine semen :P

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"Because US beef is raised using hormones that are illegal in the EU. EU consumers do not want to receive doses of testosterone, progesterone and other ~sterones in their dinner."

But they are ok with chemical fertilizers and toxic sprays in their veggies ? Bizzare lot if you ask me. I seem to recall that there are more than 100 cattle ranches in the US that can provide nothing more than grass fed beef by the tons. So why is that also banned in the EU ?

I'm not sure what is bizarre here. Or is it perhaps that the EU is more concerned about the levels of ~sterones than the 'fertilizers, chemicals in their dinners?' Is it true the grass fed to the 'beef' contained no chemical fertilizers and toxics whatsoever?

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maruku: You misunderstand my position, I have nothing to gain or lose if US Beef is sold in Japan. I can run over to any of the military bases in the Kanto plains and buy as many thick juicy tenderloins I can fit into my cooler. As far as I'm concerned, US Beef producers know what needs to be done and need to comply. There is no excuse for not meeting the health standards of the country you are doing business with.

My position is more along the lines of protectionist Japan and the role the government plays protecting its domestic industries. Only the truly naive can take anything the Japanese government says at face value.

I find the timing of the latest beef scare amazingly convenient. The weak dollar is making American beef even more affordable to the average J-consumer. When faced with the decision to buy US, Austrailian or Japanese beef, the consumer will look for the best value. The only knock against US beef is the false perception that it is dangerous to eat. There are many on this site that have bought the government story, hook line and sinker. Two cows were discovered to have BSE a few years ago. Both came from Canada. While some critics complain the US doesn't test the whole herd, they fail to mention that the millions of test over the years netted zero positives. Anyone that has any understanding of risk analysis and risk management can tell you, the risk is so small it is barely measurable.

The Japanese Beef Industry cannot compete against both Australian and US beef imports, but reducing the flow of imports from the US keeps prices propped up hurting guess who in the end....you got it, the J-consumer.

I recommend you Maruku reexamine how well you really understand the issue before making any more lame suggestions.

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Only the truly naive can take anything the Japanese government says at face value.

I think this statement should be retracted as we could easily say the same about the U.S. government.

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whats your point presto, you can say that about any government?

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whats your point presto, you can say that about any government? Your question is not exactly clear to me, but the point I am making is that Japan has been labeled as protectionist for decades by the U.S. and at times the E.U., while in fact these countries have attempted to protect their own industries all the time.

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I am really sorry, but I still haven't figured out how to separate the quotes from the comments on this forum!

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VOR, one more time. You say: "Demand for US beef in Japan has been growing at a phenomenal clip; almost 80% last year alone"

But still US beef only holds a market share of less then 10%. So what's so phenomenal about that demand? Look at your local supermarket. Do they sell US beef??? Tell me...do they? And you blame others for their weak understanding. You get it now, VOR? Good!!

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You are right. Who do you believe? We are in the disinformation age. If you aren't making an effort to determine the facts from other sources, there's really no point formulating an opinion. much less sharing it with others.

There are many books on the subject of free trade and protectionist japan written by experts on international trade. Plenty of evidence out there for people to make up their own minds one way or the other without relying upon government for answers.

Consumers are the ones that get screwed whenever their government sets up trade barriers. The Japanese are probably the worst off in the entire industrialized world. There is no reason why J-consumers are over paying for most goods and services.

In this respect, its their own damn fault if they are so easily manipulated by their own government.

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*

There is no reason why J-consumers are over paying for most goods and services. In this respect, its their own damn fault if they are so easily manipulated by their own government. *

Consumers in Japan are over-paying because they are sustaining an outdated distribution system that supports a lot of middle men, but also supplies a lot of free information service for example, something which is not free of charge in the EU and US. The Japanese system keeps a lot of people at work and someone has to foot the bill for that. We can stretch this topic endlessly (if moderation does allow it), but where Japanese consumers 'get screwed' in one area, American consumers get screwed elsewhere.

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relax roomtemp, you don;t have to get all snippity even if it does make me laugh.

US beef and Australian Beef represented the majority of all imports into Japan up until 2003 when the Japanese government closed their ports to US Beef. US started shipping beef to Japan again in 2006 after the ban on US beef was lifted where it has begun to rebuild its presence in the Japanese market from scratch. Its growth over the first two years is phenomenal by industry standards and if the current growth continues with modest declines in the out year, US beef will regain its previous stature in just a few short years.

Thanks for letting me explain my point roomytemp and your lukewarm friends don't seem to understand, Japan's domestic beef industry cannot compete on a fair playing field, they need their government to set up barriers and plant fear in the minds of consumers for them to maintain any substantial market share in this country. Capice?

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presto, you can't have it both ways my friend. its not one or the other. the japanese distribution system is another contributing factor to the j-consumer getting screwed.

American consumers will only get screwed if their government retaliates with trade barriers of their own. So far I'm not aware of any. CAre to enlighten me?

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"But they are ok with chemical fertilizers and toxic sprays in their veggies ?"

Chemical fertilizer can be washed off. How will you remove the hormones from within the beef?

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VOR ... good response and I do understand your reasoning - it's sound. You acknowledge the people dropped the ball Stateside and your issue is one of protectionism by the Japanese. Bro, protectionism is as old as the hills and is as entrenched in the US agri-business sector Stateside as it is here - think farming subsidies in the US. This is not something that is endemic to Japan. Sarge (who I often disagree with) is right. Japanese people Stateside eat US beef. So did Abe when he visited George. Thing is, Japanese beef is not on the menu Stateside because ...well, why should it be? There are a lot of cows that side.

But the fact is it doesn't whether the herds are sub 20-months in the States, or the Japanese farmers in Kobe or Hokkaido are well organised, or whatever, the fact is the States has repeatedly shipped flesh that is risky to Japan. They know Japan is sensitive, but they still ship it. So I need to ask you, who is being stupid and irresponsible here?

You as well as any other person here knows that this is business. You can mess with a client once (maybe) but you can't do it twice and claim to be the victim of protectionist policy when they go to someone who doesn't mess them around (Aus).

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To clarify, VOR, when I said:

Thing is, Japanese beef is not on the menu Stateside because ...well, why should it be? There are a lot of cows that side.

I'm talking about protectionism Stateside.

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presto, you can't have it both ways my friend. its not one or the other

'Both ways? My friend? Not one or the other?' Sorry, I am lost here :-)

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Maruku: I think I am already on record that US beef exporters need to ensure they are meeting the import rules imposed by Japan. Any slip up plays right into the hands of the Japanese beef industry.

I'll have to remain skeptical about the entire inspection process though. I think there is an equal chance of a US worker slipping up as there is a competitor of US beef rigging the inspection. There are billions of yen at stake (no pun intended) and how the Japanese government and press react to a mistake now and then, its not too far out of bounds for the losing side to play dirty. Just conjecture on my part as I do not know what safeguards are in place to prevent this type of funny business from happening.

Not sure I am tracking with you on the part about the lack of Japanese beef in the US being is caused by US protectionism. Are you saying the Japanese beef industry is able to compete in the American market and not being allowed due to some kind of trade barrier?

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"Chemical fertilizer can be washed off. How will you remove the hormones from within the beef?"

Chemical fertilizers and toxic sprays are not all soluble in water. They are absorbed into the skin of most fruits and vegetables.

Which is beside the point because there are hundreds of American cattle ranches that are completely organic ! Japan's position is suspect and extremely hypocritical considering the vastly more dangerous products found on the nations shelves.

Maruku, you are right, protectionism is world-wide. But only the Japanese engage in nationwide campaigns of open discrimination complete with bold faced lies and half truths. Isn't it time for the US to do the same in return. And considering how poor some of Japans major auto companies have done at the recall table, that would be a good place to start !

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VOR: You're absolutely right and I stand corrected. The unavailability of Japanese beef Stateside is obviously because US farmers are way more competitive in the local market (which is what I said in my first post). My second post was merely to illustrate that there is a possibility that the US beef market is also protected (subsidies etc.) and therefore that it's not a uniquely Japanese thing.

Possum bro, you might remember recalls by Mitsubishi Pajero near the end of the massive "don't drive Japanese" drive Stateside a couple of years back.

But only the Japanese engage in nationwide campaigns of open discrimination

Why did they recall? Because the cars were unsafe. But recall they did. US beef should do the same - recall beef that is dangerous and take the hit. Improve the product, and come back with a refined product that meets the buyer's standards instead of trying to force feed a client that has other options.

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Maruku... exactly !

As for American beef, you keep terming it "unsafe". One question for you, since the US has started exporting American beef to Japan, exactly how many Japanese have been infected with BSE ? How any have contracted any disease at all ? How many have fallen ill from consuming American beef ? The ball rests in your court Maruku to show me the data !

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thepossum: can't speak for maruku but this may just be an argument of semantics. The Japanese government is using the term "risky". Risky may mean unsafe to some people. Good catch nevertheless. The risk of contracting Crutchfeld Jacobs syndronme from US beef is so remote, anybody with any deductive reasoning skills can't help but question the fear mongering tactics being deployed by the Japanese government at the behest of its domestic beef industry.

With that said, I strongly disagree with your position that the US retaliate with restrictions on other Japanese products. This in the end does nothing more than hurt US consumers. The US beef industry are big boys, they can take care of themselves. They can start by insuring beef shipped to Japan meet Japanese import standards and they would be wise to implement safeguards to prevent their shipments from being tampered with.

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When I was a child, I wanted my father to go camping and fire the grill in this coming season of the year. Cheap and good beef over the grill can really make Japanese kids smile.

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Interesting arguments on all fronts I must say. Very interesting.

VOR I see your point about Japanese protectionism. I believe it happens on a number of levels. That said, is the US any different when it comes to protectionism? Why is it considered dirty business practices for Japan to do this while the US also plays dirty? Case in point Canadian softwood lumber. Talk about not honouring your international agreements. I hear you though, it is never very comforting to find yourself at the other end of the table. And one more point. One of those cows that came from Canada was actually born in the US of A. Personally, I don't distinguish between Canadian and American beef. While I'm not a big fan of Americans in general (thanks to Mr Bush of course), I don't mind their cows. Quite tasty.

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Meanringo,

The Japanese blatantly violated the one between the US and Japan on beef. The original agreement stated that only processing plants found in violation of the terms would be banned from Japans markets. Yet Japan closed the whole market for a good 2 years. They have yet to compensate American farmers or apologize to the US beef industry for their knee jerk over-reaction that was in clear violation of the agreement between the two nations !

And it's funny you point out your "one lone cow" story. Japan has had more than two dozen bse infected cows show up here ! Odd, the local papers sure dumped those stories quickly didn't they !

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Read below...tales of tainted Chinese seafood shipped to America...oddly enough though, no nation-wide USG call for fearmongering or a boycott, not even from the fishermen...I guess we need to send Commodore Perry back over because the locals haven't really "opened their doors" after all.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/washington/story/9B0E83BCDECC09DB8625743E00129671?OpenDocument

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"According to Japan’s health ministry, imported beef is inspected at five stages: Inspection at factories in the U.S., quarantine at Japanese customs, animal quarantine by Japan’s agriculture ministry, inspection by private-sector buyers and private-sector food process factories. However, an official says, “The rate of random sampling on imported beef is just 1%.”"

Looks like one of the five stages of inspection is done and controlled by the U.S., while four of the five stages are done and controlled by the Japanese. Are they saying that the inspection done by the Japanese is insufficient?

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Downer cows mistreated in Chino, California. Terrible, terrible, terrible.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/08/business/08nocera.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

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Chouwda brings up a great issue. We all know that it is illegal for downer cows to enter the human food chain in the USA... but what about Japan ? Is there any legislation on the books ? Or is this just another one of them "grin grin wink wink" Japanese ways of doing business. Again, more than 2 dozen bse infected cattle in Japan, there's gotta be hundreds of downers getting into the food chain if there is no law against it.

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Here is the US, there are many purchasing options. We do no have to puchase beef with from "beef factories".

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Ohiodonna... well said ! The problem here in Japan though is there is a lot of misinformation about purchasing beef in America. I have tried to enlighten the locals but usually their individual bias against all things American clouds their thinking. I for one absolutely love being able to go right out to the ranch and get a couple of pounds of grass fed cattle for about a third of the price the Japanese pay here ! And I guarantee you this, no kobe beef can stand up to the possums bbq grill... damn stuff is too fatty ! Can you say "grease fire" ! Moo !

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A contract agreement which specifically specifies no spines and such requires nothing more than adherence. Arguing about whether inspections are necesssary or whether the buyers have the right stop buying is absurd. And since Japanese domestic beef is a different type of product targeting a different market, this has nothing to do with opening or closing markets. If anything, it's opening the door wide open for our real competitors...Australian Beef. It doesn't take rocket scientists to inspect JUST THE EXPORT TO JAPAN PACKAGES does it?

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Isn't the real reason is that Japan wants cheaper U.S. beef?

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"Isn't the real reason is that Japan wants cheaper U.S. beef?"

Price is determined in the marketplace, where American beef has been traditionally, and substantually lower. Subsequently, there is no reason for government officials to interfere, the customer will eventually determine the price.

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Good point about kobe beef not being able to stand up to the competition thepossum. I was under the impression that kobe beef couldn't stand at all as it spends it's life in a sling! :) OssanULTRA--it has everything to do with market closure. J-Beef targets a different market only because it's expensive and can't compete with cheaper US and Aussie beef, but if the J-Gov shuts out US beef (which they won't do with Aussie beef as Aeon owns quite a few cattle ranches there) by fearmongering or outright ban, the j-beef can target the entire market byb default. A cow is a cow is a cow, the only reason Kobe beef is so expensive is because of the heart-mangling fat content which the J-folks can't get enough of.

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The best way of course is just to choose not to eat beef. A lot of my J friends have been doing so not only for health reasons but cost as well. Then again, with the World Food crisis, everything in the world is expensive.

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freakashow: to each his own, you and your scrawny J-friends are free to make whatever health and consumer decisions you like. The issue on this page is not about whether its healthy or not to eat beef but about the right for people to make their own consumer and health decision without government manipulation and fear mongering at the behest of people who are lining their pockets. If it was the government doing it, it would be racketeering.

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doggone it, to quick with the submit button again.

the last sentence should read, "if it WASN'T the government doing it, it would be considered racketeering."

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too

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HodeDo "OssanULTRA--it has everything to do with market closure. J-Beef targets a different market only because it's expensive and can't compete with cheaper US and Aussie beef, but if the J-Gov shuts out US beef (which they won't do with Aussie beef as Aeon owns quite a few cattle ranches there) by fearmongering or outright ban, the j-beef can target the entire market byb default."

That's the most ridicious interpretation of "market" I've ever heard of. Disposabable income is finite. You don't stop selling regular gas at $4.00 a gallon and think "OH boy I'm gonna force all these consumers to buy the $6.00 Hi-Octane". Consumers will simply cut down on their driving. Extra money isn't going come blowing out their hindquarters along with the monkeys. If only the more expensive Domestic Beef is available, it will simply be purchased less. Market Closure would make sense if Japan had a domestic beef industry that competed directly with the imports. They don't. BTW Japanese firms also have investments in beef cattle operations in the US as well, not just Australia.

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HoDeDo,

Kobe beef is quite delicious. It doesn't seem that the "heart-mangling fat content" has damaged the higher (and still increasing) life-expectancy of the rarely obese Japanese.

Japanese people loved American beef but there was also a healthy market for Japanese beef--particularly exotic brands like beer-fed cattle. The issue was never protectionism--unless it was consumer protection. The United States does in fact follow the world standard but that does not mean that the Japanese should not use a higher standard in responding to the health concerns of its people.

After much wrangling, Japan consented to reentry of American beef. The inability of American exporters to follow the terms of the agreement is what is hurting the market for American beef here. American lip and attitude will only make it worse.

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who is buying American beef spines? This was in the shipment and was a mistake? So that means somebody, somewhere is buying these bovine spines for human consumption..

I would like to see a tariff on U.S. Beef with the money used for BSE research.

People are getting increasingly worried about their food products and US Beef is really dropping the ball on this. Organtic US Beef with a picture of the farm/farmer would sell quite well and people would pay a premium for safety. Japanese rice growers do this. Of course US beef acts in the interests of these big beef companies and not the Japanese consumer -at one time Japanese rice production was like this also (had to sell/buy thru a broker = farmer could not sell/market his rice directly)

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Aussie beef is better anyway!

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I was in the new Costco in Iruma this weekend ! American beef was just flying off the shelves ! I asked one of the foreign managers working the floor about sales of US beef. He said, anywhere ranging from "very good" to "excellent" ! The Iruma store in particular was doing well, seems the locals haven't been able to get such wonderful beef at such low prices for ages ! Guess ya can't argue with those numbers !

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